Ranger Kathryn's Arches

April 19, 2011

Joyfully ruined

I'm being changed.

Living and working on the stunning Colorado Plateau has changed me. I don’t mean that I’m darker-skinned, or in better shape, or leaning toward vegetarian, although I’m all those things too. No; this place has worked its way into the fiber of my being and will not let go. It has shaped my thinking and affected how I view my world. Perhaps it has even ruined me for any semblance of a “normal life” in the future.

Whose definition of “normal” have I been using? And… why? Is it finally time to define my own ‘normal,’ since it is well documented that I don’t seem to fit others’ ‘normal’?

I’m discovering what I love to do, and where I love to be, and finding a way to bring it to fruition. I’m not on some hedonistic pursuit of happiness. The older I get, the more wilderness ministers to my soul. Time becomes more precious, and wasted opportunities more disappointing. Every single day is a blessing as I wander purposefully through Arches National Park on a mission to locate raptor nests. Each sunrise is pure joy.

I am more content than I have ever been in my entire life.


  1. My dear Kathryn,

    You never cease to amaze me! I look forward to your blogs and enjoy every one. So even if I don’t respond to them all, I want you to know how much I enjoy them – and how much I am looking forward to seeing you!

    You get to pick the restaurant of your choice and we get to treat you!! What a deal!

    Blessings on you this Holy Week and a joyous Easter in the place that you love! Ann

    Comment by Ann Rabie — April 19, 2011 @ 10:47 pm | Reply

    • You are too kind, Ann. And — I receive the blessings you send, joyfully. I don’t know if I can wait five more weeks for the privilege of seeing you!

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — April 19, 2011 @ 10:58 pm | Reply

  2. Yay!

    Comment by Ed Oak — April 19, 2011 @ 11:47 pm | Reply

  3. “Know Thyself.”
    “Be Thyself.”
    Everything else is detail – including ‘normal’.

    Comment by leroque — April 20, 2011 @ 6:10 am | Reply

  4. When you are in God’s will and where God wants you to be, your heart beats in rhythm with His. You walk in His footsteps. You breathe as one with him. That is where you are, that is the source of the wholeness you sense. Be with Him and continue forth on His mission, old friend. Happiest of Easters to you. I will be remembering special times from years ago when you visited my campus and we had the sweet and special times of daily prayer and walks, faith-sharing, laughter, and listening for God’s direction.

    My days in AZ and my days near the Jersey Shore help me walk in God’s steps too. I understand the wholeness you are expressing. Love you! my blog is: http://believeanyway.wordpress.com

    Comment by Kate Kresse — April 20, 2011 @ 8:22 am | Reply

    • I’ll look forward to reading it when I get a breather! And, yes, wholeness is a gift — a precious gift from God.

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — April 20, 2011 @ 9:06 am | Reply

  5. that is a potent statement!!!! I must be missing something….. I don’t think I even know what it’s like to be fully content! Kudos to your contentedness

    Comment by john — April 20, 2011 @ 8:37 am | Reply

    • I thought VERY carefully before writing that sentence, as this is no place for hyperbole. Motherhood has been the most continually satisfying endeavor in my life, but comparing motherhood and raptor monitoring is like comparing cabbage and algebra. What I’m doing now is incredibly fulfilling, every bit as much as park rangering, which was my best job ever. This one just gets me out into the wilderness every single day, which I find I need… as much as I need to breathe.

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — April 20, 2011 @ 9:00 am | Reply

  6. How I wish I could do the same………. (must not want it bad enough)

    Comment by john — April 20, 2011 @ 1:41 pm | Reply

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